ºCompiled by Denise Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger

I've been talking about eating low carb meals for nearly a year.

Well, why do we need to do this? What good is it for our bodies? Why should we avoid a lot of carbs? Here is a little about them, so you can understand a little about the effect that foods have on your body.

There are three types of carbohydrates: starches which are complex carbs and sugars and fibers which are simple.

Simple carbs have one or two sugars in them. Our bodies can absorb them easily. They include fruits, milk and dairy products, and some vegetables.

Candy, syrups, cookies, pastries and pastas are examples of simple carbs. They come from white flour or refined sugar. They have little or no nutritional value. Your body breaks them down into glucose to be used for energy. When there is an excess of glucoes, your body stores it as fat.

Complex carbs break down in your body slowly, resulting in a lower insulin level and less hunger. Complex carbs are found in fiber rich fruits, whole grains, fiber rich vegetables, and beans. Whole wheat pastas, apples, berries, bananas, broccoli, carrots, and green leafy vegetables are some examples of foods with complex carbohydrates.

Dietary guidelines recommend that our carbohydrate intake be about 45-65% of our daily calorie intake. This means that if you eat 2000 calories a day, then you should aim for around 225-325 grams of carbohydrates.

If you are trying to lose weight, a lower carbohydrate intake is recommended. Diets vary in their suggestions. Many range in suggestions from 20 carbs to 150 carbs. To be healthy, consult with your doctor before beginning any diet. You should also combine exercise with any weight loss plan. An increase of water intake is also recommended. You should drink at least 8 glasses of 8 oz. of water or about 1/2 gallon of water a day.

Lowering your carbohydrate intake, increasing your water intake, and becoming more active are all ways to lead a healthier life style. Just remember, when confronted with those high carb foods, moderation is the key.